This is the first major museum exhibition to focus on the profound importance of Henri Matisse’s personal collection of objects on his creative process. Five thematic sections—“The Object Is an Actor, “The Nude,” “The Face,” “Studio as Theatre,” and “Late Work”—feature a range of works in a variety of media from different points in the artist’s career.
Approximately 25 paintings, 15 sculptures and 45 works on paper are showcased alongside 30 decorative and sculptural objects from Matisse’s personal collection—many on loan from private collections and publicly exhibited for the first time. They include pots, pitchers and vases, as well as textiles, sculptures and masks from the non-Western traditions that Matisse greatly admired. Photographs of works in progress and Matisse’s various studios in Collioure, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Nice, and Vence are also displayed, vividly recreating the artist’s working spaces.
The exhibition travels to the Royal Academy of Arts in London from August 8–November 12, 2017
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Matisse in the Studio, explores the essential role that Henri Matisse’s personal collection of objects played in his studio practice. The artist traveled with his collection even to temporary residences, and letters to family members often included requests for objects to be moved to where he was working, revealing them to be critical creative stimulants. Featured frequently in the modern master’s bold paintings, drawings and cutouts, and influencing the development of his work in sculpture, Matisse’s objects formed a secret history hiding in plain sight. Works that span Matisse’s entire career are presented here alongside the objects that inspired them, from Asian vases and African masks to intricate textiles from the Islamic world. An introduction and five chapters take readers through studies of the object as actor and the studio as theater, the importance of African art in Matisse’s renderings of the human form and his sitters’ inner selves, and the invention and transformation of his own language of signs. With lush illustrations and archival images, Matisse in the Studio provides exceptional insights into the artist at work.